Evolution of office space culture
Let's look at how office environments have changed over the previous five decades to better comprehend the evolution of workplace culture.
Changes in office space through decades:
.Offices in the 1950s
Offices in the 1950s resembled a smokey office arrangement rather than the bright multidesk areas seen in today's offices.The office of the 1950s was a formal and hierarchical space reminiscent of the industrial age. Offices of the period were not meant to facilitate employee contact and collaboration; instead, the area was rigorously arranged, with senior executives having private working offices and the rest of the workers sitting on an open floor.
This was a time when employees would have to sit at their desks all day, not being able to move around. There would be no chance of personalizing their workspace or using creativity to design their desks.
Co-working workspaces offer companies flexible offerings like work near home and access to any workspace
.Offices in 1960s
The 1960s were when offices were transitioning from the cramped, side-by-side working style to the notion of 'Buroland schaft' (the German word for office landscaping). With the introduction of plastic furniture, it became cheaper and easier to rebuild offices, and this ergonomic approach spread around the world.
Ergonomic designs dominated the decade, as office designs continued to provide individual workers more autonomy and creativity in their job. The era also cleared the door for office design innovation, as businesses sought to create facilities that were tailored to their employees' needs and culture, as well as reflecting their values.
After the colonial rule ended, a lot was going on in India. With the country's economic and political independence, the newly established government concentrated on large-scale infrastructure projects. As a result, the workplaces became more crowded, yet they remained practical and straightforward.
.Offices in the 1970s and 80s
The 70s and 80s saw the most significant invention in human history: computers, which significantly altered office design and function. In the 1980s, the heavy PC spawned equally rich workstations.
.Offices in the 1990s
Offices in this period gradually began to embrace technology, with the arrival of the internet being the most significant development in 1990. Computers were now being used on a large scale in office workstations.
The 1990s saw the emergence of cubicles in corporate workplaces designed by Designer Robert Propst based on the assumption that 'output would increase if workers had their work spread out in front of them.'
Initially, the cubicle was intended to be a large, private space with flexible walls, a phone connection, and computer space. This concept failed miserably. Office space became more expensive in the 1980s and 1990s as corporate structures changed often. As a result, businesses attempted to adapt to these developments, and cheaper, transportable cubicles became the standard.
.Offices in 2000- 2010
The office culture has only recently begun to experience the winds of change throughout this decade. This was when the office started to notice the changes and demands of Gen Y workers, who want more than just a standard salary package from their organization.
Instead, the focus was on ideas that would alter how we live and work. As a result, new designs that fostered free thinking appeared in the corporate office sector, such as game rooms, sleeping pods, brainstorming conference rooms, and so on, came into existence.
This was also when we first heard about the term 'co-working spaces' where people from different companies work in the same space–began to gain popularity, providing a venue to work, collaborate and network with like-minded people.
.Office spaces beyond 2010 till present
Modern offices are now becoming more and more flexible for employees. Today's office spaces include bean bags, quirky designs, and posters being splashed across on their walls to keep their employees excited and productive during office hours.
Furthermore, after the advent of COVID, for organizations, health and wellness have become a priority more than it was before as they now are coming back to offices after working from home for almost a year.
Keeping the health and safety of their employees, more and more firms are moving towards flexible co-working workspaces to meet all of the increasing office space needs, including rostered hours and shorter daily commutes for employees.
Co-working workspaces offer companies flexible offerings like work near home and access to any workspace location from anywhere across the country. This not only cuts commuting times for employees by allowing them to choose the most convenient workspace location, but it also boosts productivity.
The Bottom Line:
While the past and the evolution of the office workspaces are fascinating, the future is perhaps more so because the possibilities are limitless. We can look back and see where we came from, as well as imagine where we can go.
The most exciting aspect of the future is that office culture and, as a result, space will virtually be forced to adapt to keep up with the new workforce's demands. It's no wonder that co-working has been widely welcomed worldwide, given the evolution of our working style and the current seesawing ratio between rising population, limited resources, and keeping up with the COVID rules and regulations, and keeping employees safe and healthy.